Tag: health system collaboration

Look Outside Hospital Walls to Collaborate, Improve Health

A recent trip to Denmark to speak at an IT conference reminded me how important it is for hospital executives to remember Joy’s Law. Bill Joy famously observed “No matter what business you’re in, most of the smart people work for someone else.” There should be a corollary that states “No matter what industry you’re in, you can learn a lot from people in other fields.”

If you take Joy’s Law seriously you start to think beyond the boundaries of your hospital system and realize there is much to learn and borrow from others. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams in “Wikinomics” (New York: Penguin, 2008) describe how cutting-edge companies outside of healthcare are benefiting from mass collaboration made possible by digital tools.

Procter & Gamble has made “proudly found elsewhere” a mantra for the consumer products company that has a goal of sourcing 50 percent of its new products and service ideas from outside the company. Successful products such as Olay Regenerist, Swiffer Dusters, and Crest Spin-Brush are some of the hundreds of products P&G found by connecting with scientists and engineers who do not work for P&G.

Tapscott and Willams open their book with the Goldcorp Challenge, where a Canadian mining company offered $575,000 in prize money to anyone in the world who could identify targets to mine from analyzing the 400 megabytes of the company’s proprietary data about their 55,000 acres of land. The geologists, graduate students, consultants, mathematicians, and military officers who responded to the challenge identified 110 targets (50 percent of which had not been identified by the mining company) and 80 percent of the new targets yielded substantial quantities of gold.

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